Dry skin is usually a benign skin condition. Unfortunately, it can also be very uncomfortable. Our skin is our largest organ and acts as a waterproof, insulating shield guarding the body against extremes of temperature, damaging sunlight, and harmful chemicals. It also exudes antibacterial substances that prevent infection, manufactures vitamin D and helps detoxify our bodies of harmful toxins.
Causes of dry skin can be varied, but the most common are:
- Artificial heating
- Cold outdoor air
- Hot water
All of these can strip skin of oils, which are a natural defence against dry skin and outside irritants.
Diet plays a large role in keeping skin glowing and healthy. Here are some of examples of which foods to include in your diet for glowing, healthy skin:
- Water – we’ve been told over and over again that we need to drink approximately 2 litres of water a day in order to keep our skin hydrated. This is true to a certain extent, however if you are missing key nutrients listed below, this may not be the most important step for you. Make sure you are drinking filtered
- Fruits and veggies such as citrus fruit, strawberries, broccoli, pomegranates, blueberries, and bell peppers are high in vitamin C. Vitamin C can help repair and prevent dry skin and can also help reduce the signs of aging because it helps our bodies to make collagen. This helps to heal damaged skin and, in some cases, reduces the appearance of wrinkles.
- Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds, which are high in vitamin E which can possibly help counteract a lack of sebum. Vitamin E also helps in the treatment of skin inflammation.
- Fatty fish such as wild caught salmon, mackerel, anchovies, and mussels are filled with Omega 3 essential fatty acids. A great vegan option for omega 3’s is algal oil, which is the oil derived from the algae eaten by fish! So in effect, it’s just a shortcut to the source.
- GLA (or gamma linolenic acid) is an omega 6 fatty acid from borage and evening primrose oils has been shown to be one of the most effective agents for the treatment of skin disorders and for the maintenance of healthy skin along with omega 3’s.
- Collagen is the new catchword in skin care! It is also a major building block of muscle, tendons, ligaments, and bones as well as the digestive tract. It provides moisture, elasticity and structure to skin, especially as we age. It was traditionally consumed in the form of animal products. Our ancestors made use of the entire animal including the bones, sinew, and cartilage. If you are making soups and stews with bones, you can still reap these benefits, however these days, collagen can be found in all forms, from powders and pills, to creams and serums.
Creams and oils may be only a topical solution, however if you are also taking care of the diet portion as stated above, topical products can speed the process and help to keep a barrier between your body and outside influences. If you are looking for topical products try to look for products with the following ingredients.
- Hyaluronic Acid – this is known as a “humectants”. Humectants draw in moisture, however hyaluronic acid should be used in conjunction with other oils since using it alone can draw moisture from deeper layers of the skin if you are in a dry environment, which will make your problem worse.
- Glycerine - as with hyaluronic acid, this is a humectant and should be used in conjunction with other oils.
- Calendula – calendula is a beautiful yellow flower, more commonly known as a marigold, common to southern Europe. This flower is soothing to skin and may accelerate wound healing. It has been used for eczema, psoriasis, acne, diaper rash as well as for the overall appearance of skin as it promotes skin hydration and firmness.
Achieving healthy skin depends as much on what you do as how you do it! Here are some tips for getting the most out of your products:
- Apply moisturizer when your skin is still a little damp after your shower or bath.
- If you have sensitive skin, use moisturizers with soothing ingredients that are free of acids, fragrances, and dyes.
- Avoid extra hot water for showers and when washing your face.
- Consider using a humidifier at night, or keep a small one on your desk during the day.
- Add a protective facial serum under your moisturizer for added benefits.
- Just changing up a couple of things in your routine can make a huge difference in how you feel, so try one or two and at a time, and find out how powerful small changes can be.
In the end, you’ll be helping yourself to a more comfortable and enjoyable winter season.